On Christmas day, I posted about a site called "Changing the Present". Knowing that not everyone is confident that charitable donations accomplish anything but padding someone else's wallet, I included a link to Charity Navigator for those who might wish to investigate further.
The problem with Charity Navigator is that they evaluate U.S. charities only. And even in that, not everyone is convinced as to how useful they are. Edit: Another option which hadn't occured to me when I began writing this post is Give.org. I don't know if they are considered reliable, but they are a Better Business Bureau website.
I looked for something similar in Canada but came up empty. Until later that day! Preparing to check my Yahoo e-mail inbox, the following was the highlighted story on Yahoo News:
VICTORIA - The six-figure income, the prestigious job at Apple, the status of being a teenage Internet whiz kid and the endless good times wore thin and wore out Victoria-born Tom Williams.
He was 25 years old and having an early mid-life crisis.
Meaning had been sucked from his life, says Williams, so he dumped his job, salary and lifestyle and started selling philanthropy online to make his world real again.
But he couldn't bury his entrepreneurial gifts and quickly discovered his keen marketing skills are handy tools when it comes to the charity game - a business, he believes, badly in need of a shake-up.
"Absolutely, and it's high time," Williams said recently in Victoria. "Frankly, the issues are that we don't know where our money is going.
"The big charities are continuing to get a disproportionately large amount of donor dollars and the smaller organizations who are sometimes doing grassroots work in communities across the country and other ones, are starved for cash, having to literally consider shutting down their operations," he said.
In 2004, Williams returned to British Columbia and launched GiveMeaning.com. He is the chief executive officer.
He believes his online charity can change the charity industry, change lives. It changed his.
"Never had I had more energy or passion," Williams said.
The site is here. You can click on the "Important Issues" link under "browse" to locate causes regionally.
Now they don't evaluate charities, as such, but...
GiveMeaning™ Projects all have tangible, measurable charitable goals, and only registered charities may be chosen to carry out those goals. When you donate at GiveMeaning.com, you have the comfort of knowing:
* 100% of all money donated goes directly to charity
* you will receive a tax receipt, as permissible by law (in the U.S. and Canada)
* you can measure your ‘Return on Generosity’ by viewing progress updates and more on each Project’s webpage
* your personal information will never be shared, and you will never be spammed – by us, or anyone
And, should a Project target not be met, we will give you the option of re–allocating your donation to another Project. When you donate to a GiveMeaning Project, you always have choice and will always know what happens to your money.
That last bit is interesting. It would appear then that the funds are actually not distributed unless the goal is reached? I need to look over the site more thouroughly, but I like the sounds of it on the surface.